Tag Archives: Rosa ‘Julia Child’

In Growth

27 Nov

Oh dear, I can’t believe I didn’t write anything for a whole growing season! I’m here to say that I am alive and the blog lives on, but I am hesitant to promise a more regular posting since I’ve made that promise a few times before without the best follow through.

One of my favorite little woodland plants, Maianthemum stellatum, looking fresh before the drought took its toll.

One of my favorite little woodland plants, Maianthemum stellatum, looking fresh before the drought took its toll.

Between the budding projects and responsibilities at work and the longest, hottest, and driest summer in Seattle history, there wasn’t much time left to write. (I really don’t know how other bloggers do it.)

Spring came incredibly early this year, so the Long Bed erupted into growth with amazing vigor.

Spring came incredibly early this year, so the Long Bed erupted into growth with amazing vigor.

My own garden suffered quite a bit, but this was the perfect year to leave the garden to edit itself. Anything what wasn’t well established or sited well would wither away allowing space for the more suited plantings to spread. Of course being a bit soft hearted I saved and doted upon a few select plants, but over all everyone had to make it through by their own devices.

Spring

Even before the normally reliable rains petered out the alternation of warm sunny days and mild rainy ones kept everyone looking quite good. Nearly everything bloomed all at once, so it was very difficult to photograph everything.

One of my favorite sights this spring was seeing the icy teal blue spruce and soft pink plumes of cherry blossoms against the wonderfully blue sky.

One of my favorite sights this spring was seeing the icy teal blue spruce and soft pink plumes of cherry blossoms against the wonderfully blue sky.

The (late) potted tulips sailed through the mild winter and began blooming a month early with a riot of color.

The (late) potted tulips sailed through the mild winter and began blooming a month early with a riot of color.

As usual the Bletilla orchids put on a great show though this year the chartreuse blooms of Euphorbia characias and ruddy flowers of Rosa 'Mutabilis' added to the effect.

As usual the Bletilla orchids put on a great show though this year the chartreuse blooms of Euphorbia characias and ruddy flowers of Rosa ‘Mutabilis’ added to the effect.

I received this Ranunculus ficaria 'Flore Pleno' from a friend in early spring...hopefully it doesn't have plants of garden domination.

I received this Ranunculus ficaria ‘Flore Pleno’ from a friend in early spring…hopefully it doesn’t have plants of garden domination.

I love the sweet smelling double flowers of Primula veris 'Katy Mcsparron' and despite the heavy blossoms the heads look up.

I love the sweet smelling double flowers of Primula veris ‘Katy Mcsparron’ and despite the heavy blossoms the heads look up.

The Long Bed always looks so verdant in spring, but if the lady ferns aren't well watered in the summer they crisp and brown terribly. I dig them out in late summer and planted other perennials in their place.

The Long Bed always looks so verdant in spring, but if the lady ferns aren’t well watered in the summer they crisp and brown terribly. I dig them out in late summer and planted other perennials in their place.

I find that the brooding blossoms on Geranium phaeum 'Variegatum' helps ground the splashy nature of its cream variegation.

I find that the brooding blossoms on Geranium phaeum ‘Variegatum’ helps ground the splashy nature of its cream variegation.

I love the long dangling pedicels of Mertensia bella - a lovely Pacific Northwest native.

I love the long dangling pedicels of Mertensia bella – a lovely Pacific Northwest native.

The only well-drained area in my garden is this long narrow bed about a foot wide. Everything Mediterranean lives here along with this lovely Iris 'Cloud Ballet'.

The only well-drained area in my garden is this long narrow bed about a foot wide. Everything Mediterranean lives here along with this lovely Iris ‘Cloud Ballet’.

After removing the Siberian irises back in February, I was happy to see that the fragrant Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus would bloom along side sweet Tellima grandiflora.

After removing the Siberian irises back in February, I was happy to see that the fragrant Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus would bloom along side sweet Tellima grandiflora.

Summer

This summer was quite the blur. I seemed like everything needed my attention, so I didn’t get many chances to photograph what was blooming. Plus most of the plants were stressed and ragged from the drought, so I spared them from the camera’s unflinching view.

I've been impressed with how hardy Osteospermum jucundum has been in my garden. I has survived at least four winters now, but unfortunately hasn't produced any viable seed while I've grown it.

I’ve been impressed with how hardy Osteospermum jucundum has been in my garden. I has survived at least four winters now, but unfortunately hasn’t produced any viable seed while I’ve grown it.

This is Taraxacum pseudoroseum, a pink flowered species of dandelion that I grew from seed and of course I was delighted by its first bloom this year. (Yes, I know I am a bit of a nut.)

This is Taraxacum pseudoroseum, a pink flowered species of dandelion that I grew from seed and of course I was delighted by its first bloom this year. (Yes, I know I am a bit of a nut.)

This is one of the flowers from an heirloom seed strain of carnations I started earlier in the year. Dianthus 'Enfant de Nice' is an old French variety with spicy clove scented flowers of mixed shades of red, pink, white, and purple.

This is one of the flowers from an heirloom seed strain of carnations I started earlier in the year. Dianthus ‘Enfant de Nice’ is an old French strain with spicy clove scented flowers of mixed shades of red, pink, white, and purple.

I started a bunch of dahilas from seed this year, but this seedling had the richest ox-blood red flowers which I can't capture on camera very well.

I started a bunch of dahilas from seed this year, but this seedling had the richest ox-blood red flowers which I can’t capture on camera very well.

Without a hard freeze over the winter Fuchsia magellanica 'Aurea' was quick to bloom this year.

Without a hard freeze over the winter Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’ was quick to bloom this year.

It was my first year growing this black tomato (Indigo Rose), but the marauding deer didn't leave a single ripe one for me to try.

It was my first year growing this black tomato (Indigo Rose), but the marauding deer didn’t leave a single ripe one for me to try.

Rosa 'Julia Child' really need a rejuvenating prune this year, so after a hard hack and feeding in early summer it grow back and bloomed all the way through frost.

Rosa ‘Julia Child’ really need a rejuvenating prune this year, so after a hard hack and feeding in early summer it grew back and bloomed all the way through frost.

Pelargonium 'Attar of Roses' grew magnificently in the summer heat. It was a joy pruning back the rich rose scented sprawling stems.

Pelargonium ‘Attar of Roses’ grew magnificently in the summer heat. It was a joy pruning back the rich rose-scented sprawling stems.

Autumn

Autumn came late this year, but when it did arrive it was a drastic and noticeable switch. It was still quite mild and the sunny days were beautiful, but the cooler and damper weather gave many plants much needed relief from the straining summer.

Oddly the Rhododendron occidentale decided to blossom again in September. Maybe it was rejoicing the autumn rains

Oddly the Rhododendron occidentale decided to blossom again in September. Maybe it was rejoicing the autumn rains.

Another rebloomer was Veronica gentianoides 'Pallida'. I love the china blue veins on its porcelain white petals.

Another rebloomer was Veronica gentianoides ‘Pallida’. I love the china blue veins on its porcelain white petals.

As soon as Tricyrtis formosana 'Blu-shing Toad' started to bloom I knew it was the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

As soon as Tricyrtis formosana ‘Blu-shing Toad’ started to bloom I knew it was the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.

Thanks to the late mild autumn, Chrysanthemum 'Apricot' had a beautiful display. The shimmering peach color brighten grey days.

Thanks to the late mild autumn, Chrysanthemum ‘Apricot’ had a beautiful long display. The shimmering peach color brighten grey days.

Here is Chrysanthemum 'Matchsticks' - a new acquisition - in a blaze of scarlet and gold.

Here is Chrysanthemum ‘Matchsticks’ – a new acquisition – in a blaze of scarlet and gold.

Apparently a few of my pollination attempts took on my Helwingia chinensis. How odd seeing little berries growing on a leaf.

Apparently a few of my pollination attempts took on my Helwingia chinensis. How odd seeing little berries growing on a leaf.

The over growth of the Long Bed wasn't looking too rough despite the drought this summer.

The over growth of the Long Bed wasn’t looking too rough despite the drought this summer.

I could never grow tired of smelling the sweet, yet fresh apricot scent of Osmanthus fragrans. It lives in a pot by the doorway where its wafting fragrance can be enjoyed.

I could never grow tired of smelling the sweet, yet fresh apricot scent of Osmanthus fragrans. It lives in a pot by the doorway where its wafting fragrance can be enjoyed.

In early November I took a weeklong trip to LA to visit a friend. While I was there we stopped by the Huntington Botanical Gardens for a look around.

In early November I took a weeklong trip to LA to visit a friend. While I was there we stopped by the Huntington Botanical Gardens for a look around.

The gardens were amazing, but I wish they were open longer. Four and a half hours was not enough to see the entire place!

The gardens were amazing, but I wish they were open longer. Four and a half hours was not enough to see the entire place!

The Pollination Garden

One of the many exciting projects I got to take on this summer was creating “The Pollination Garden” out in front of the University of Washington Botany Greenhouse. The container garden was designed to be a fun display for visitors where they are invited to enjoyed the flowers as they learn how to infer what pollinators each species of flower was trying to attract by looking at form, color, and scent. The garden doubled as a urban oasis for pollinators passing through both animal and human.

The garden was mostly a mixture of tropical plants and the majority of them were of straight species.

The garden was mostly a mixture of tropical plants and the majority of them were of straight species.

Here is a view of the main border.

Here is a view of the main border.

A close-up of a portion of the main border.

A close-up of a portion of the main border.

Here is the main border but looking towards the gate on a warm afternoon.

Here is the main border but looking towards the gate on a warm afternoon.

That’s all for today. Hopefully I be back around soon, but until then wishing you well and if you are in Puget Sound stay warm out there!

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Envisioning the Tropics

30 Jul

Seattle is definitely far from the tropics, but the end of July and the beginning of August marks when gardens in the Northwest take a tropical turn. With a steady increase of warmth, the tropical perennials that we treat as annuals take on a whole new life: with a new reinvigorated faith that there is in fact a plant god – they have stopped sulking and are doubling/tripling, in size. Temperate plants from climates that are supposed to experience a ‘real’ summer are also putting out most of their growth now too. If the gardener remembers to provide a steady stream of water, August through September is the garden’s second crescendo here in Seattle (the first being spring). The greens of the garden are full and lush, fuchsias are dripping with blossoms, dahlias are beginning to put on a show, reblooming roses are at it again, chrysanthemums will be in bud and bloom in a few more weeks, on and on the list goes. As usual garden life doesn’t always go according to plan, so at this time of year my garden begins to grow a bit weary from the dryness of summer.

One plant that is handling my inconsistent watering well is Solanum marginatum that I bought from Far Reaches Farm last autumn. It only drops one or two lower leaves if I’ve forgotten to water it for about a week, which when I think of it, is rather polite. Unfortunately, this tender shrub is only hardy in Zones 9 and up, so I had to overwinter it.

I love the contrast between its soft white fuzz and sharp spines, which are all over - really.

I love the contrast between its soft white fuzz and sharp spines, which are all over – really.

Also, some bee action has caused one flower to produce a fruit! Hopefully it ripens before I leave, so I can harvest and share the seeds.

What a juicy looking fruit with interesting green marbling/veining!

What a juicy looking fruit with interesting green marbling/veining!

Another plant that I overwintered as a houseplant (by the way also gets mite-y like the traditional ones) is Gardenia jasminoides ‘Frostproof’. Within the last week it decided it was time to bloom. I bought this mini-shrub for half the price at work, since it was declining and looking sad. It still isn’t looking quite like the ones at work, but it is covered with buds and I couldn’t be happier! Everyday a single bud will unfurl completely by night fall. I strategically placed the gardenia in our entryway where the slightest breeze will greet us with the rich, buttery perfume.

I love how the narrow, slightly twisted petals, gives the flowers a waterlily like form.

I love how the narrow, slightly twisted petals, gives the flowers a waterlily like form.

Also by our entry way, Grevillea victoriae ‘Marshall Olbricht’ has begun setting buds for autumn. I am impressed with this Australian shrub: all it asks for is a little bit of water in the summer and in return it blooms from autumn into winter. Plus it has survived two winters out in the open in a terracotta pot. Definitely a keeper!

I won't get to see these buds in bloom, but hopefully my family will appreciate them.

I won’t get to see these buds in bloom, but hopefully my family will appreciate them.

Another plant that has done well for me in its container (actually, it has done better in the container than in the garden) is Tricyrtis formosana var. glandosa ‘Blu-Shing Toad’ from Edelweiss Perennials. When I planted two in the garden two summers ago they were constantly being mowed down by slugs and shredded into a million pieces by tunneling chipmunks.  I threw in the towel and decided to try one in a large container. I’m glad I did, because it really has exceeded my expectations. The growth it put on is quite miraculous and almost no slug bites to speak of either!

Wouldn't you say this is a happy toad lily?

Wouldn’t you say this is a happy toad lily?

Look at all those buds ready to pop!

Look at all those buds ready to pop!

Here is Agapanthus inapertus ‘Nigrescens’ just beginning to bloom. With its upright leaves and dark, brooding, introspective flowers, I would have to say that this is my favorite agapanthus.

The flowers are a deeper, purple-black in person.

The flowers are a deeper, purple-black in person.

Oh here is another plant that I adore: Dryopteris sieboldii. My coworker turned me onto this fern and I can’t get enough of it! (Thank you, Vivian!) Though this species is mainly tropical, it is hardy here in the Puget Sound. However, I am 700 feet up, so just to be safe I’ll keep it as a houseplant come winter.

I love its saber shaped fronds!

I love its saber shaped fronds!

Oh, and another thing I can’t get enough of? The new growth on my Schefflera brevipedunculata. Is it truly hardy in zone 8? No one really knows. (Dan Hinkley thinks so.) It’ll be brought in with the houseplants and tender things alike for the winter.

Nothing like fuzzy, white new growth to set my heart-a-flutter.

Nothing like fuzzy, white new growth to set my heart aflutter.

In the Front Garden, I’m trying Agastache foeniculum ‘Golden Jubilee’ for the second time. I got my first plant from Annie’s Annuals last September when I was visiting family in San Francisco. (Clay tolerant and anise scented – how could I say no?) I planted it late and it didn’t really get a chance to establish fully, but it was still a great grower. When spring rolled around, it started to sprout, but every day half of it would disappear. At first I thought it was slugs, then cutworms, even evil magic, but my antidotes weren’t working. Then it came to me: root weevils. By the time I figure it out, it was too late. It was so tired (and jaded) from regrowing over and over again that it gave up the ghost. This spring I bought a new one and planted it in a different section of the bed. It’s growing and blooming quite happily right now! Hopefully, it will be established enough to outgrow any problems next year.

The soft lavender flowers against the bright chartreuse leaves is electric!

The soft lavender flowers against the bright chartreuse leaves is electric!

Remember ‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ just developing in spring? Look at her fruit now!

I've been waiting to taste this for years! Hopefully they will ripen in time...

I’ve been waiting to taste this for years! Hopefully they will ripen in time…

The newly planted Veronica gentianoides ‘Pallida’ in the Long Plot is reblooming for me. This low groundcover has fleshy lance shaped leaves that are arranged in a pleasingly tidy rosette. During summer tall wands of fragile, porcelain flowers sway in the softest breeze, lifting the whole garden from its heavy cloak of green. Ah, to have a nice swath of it fluttering in the warm summer air would be soothing.

Isn't this charming? I love the faint, delicate blue veining on the petals.

Isn’t this charming? I love the faint, delicate blue veining on the petals.

My ‘Julia Child’ rose is blooming again. There are already globs of blossoms here and there, but  there are more buds on the way! She is such an easy and care free rose with a tough constitution. More importantly, who could resist those anise scented, butter yellow flowers? What more could you ask for?

This might be my favorite rose...EVER.

This might be my favorite rose…EVER.

Down a bit from ‘Julia Child’ is a bright combination of plants that worked out better than I imagined! I love how the fading flowers of Astrantia ‘Abbey Road’ is really setting the gold flowers of the Crocosmia Gerbe d’Or’ aflame. On the other side, the hot-blooded flowers of Fuchsia magellanica ‘Aurea’ really meets the intensity of the crocosmia, and the bronze leaves of the crocosmia snuggling up to the chartreuse leaves of the fuchsia is a wonderful contrast.

I really like the bruised purple astrantia against the shining gold of the crocosmia.

I really like the bruised purple astrantia against the shining gold of the crocosmia.

I hope that the fuchsia grows tall enough next year, so that it’s flowers can mingle and dangle with the crocosmia flowers.

Look at those hot, burning colors together!

Look at those hot, burning colors together!

Further down the Long Plot is where it starts to take on a tropical look. About a little over a month ago, I planted Woodwardia unigemmata in an empty section at the base of the helwingia. It’s happily growing and throwing up new beautiful fronds! The fiddle heads were a redder color earlier in the season when it was cooler, but I still love that elegant, almost metal-like, new growth.

Isn't that bronze-y red just delicious?

Isn’t that bronze-y red just delicious?

To the right of the fern Helwingia chinensis and Fuchsia magellanica ‘Riccartonii’ fit right in weaving through our native Indian plum, lady ferns, and woodland strawberries. I love how this leafy corner looks! The different shapes, textures, and colors of the leaves really play off of one another quite well. I wish photographs didn’t have the tendency to flatten gardens, because this section is really layered and wonderfully light in person.

This is my little lush and jungly bit of the Long Plot.

This is my little lush and jungly bit of the Long Plot.

Further down is a new plant I got in early July at Justin’s garden festival of Growing Steady. Rubus lineatus is a slightly tender, suckering shrub from China with beautifully pleated leaves and a shimmering white undersides. I hope this one makes it through the winter and ultimately grows into a nice large shrub, because it needs to hold its own growing behind a native goat’s beard.

The silvery pleated underside of the leave is pleasantly soft and lustrous.

The silvery pleated underside of the leave is pleasantly soft and lustrous.

I’ve also been doing a lot of repotting. Like for instance, on the left I potted up a small rhizome of ginger that decided it was not going to be chopped up and cooked. I’ve learned that ginger makes a great houseplant. It might be because it is naturally found growing in warm, bright shade in the understory of the tropics – which is some what like a sunny windowsill. It’s also nice to have a ginger plant around because the leaves and flowers release a sweet ginger fragrance if brushed. Fun, right? And the plant on the right is a cutting of a scented geranium my friend gave me before heading off to study monkey vocalizations in China. I know it looks a bit tired from transport, but it is quite alive and very springy. This one smells of citronella.

Just freshly potted up.

Just freshly potted up.

Sorry it took almost a month to write again, but since this is my last week of work I (hopefully) will have more time to write about what’s happening in the garden. Here is a photo of the Long Plot now. Talk to you soon!

Here is the Long Plot in mid-summer.

Here is the Long Plot in mid-summer.

P.S. I’ve submitted the first portion of my visa application and bought my ticket to the UK – I can’t believe I am leaving in 5 weeks!

Spring Fever

27 May

Seattle spring is a lovely waltz between warm sun breaks and cool rains and this year the weather has gotten the dance right! This perfect elixir of sunshine and rain is encouraging the garden to billow up and out (and causing some flopping). The succession of spring flowers are steadily progressing through, but Bletillas are definitely at their peak. Remember them two posts ago? Well here they are a couple weeks ago:

I love the fresh apple green leaves and rattlesnake-tail-inflorescence.

I love the fresh apple green leaves and rattlesnake-tail-inflorescence.

The first bud to bloom a week after:

First bud opening a couple of weeks ago.

First bud opening a couple of weeks ago.

Now here they are today. Look at all of those pink blooms – every year they take my breath away! They are starting to spread a little too fast, but it is a wonderful problem to have, right?

Bloomin' fools they all are!

Bloomin’ fools they all are!

Here is a close up of an inflorescence. Just look at those fancy ruffles!

Here is a close up of an inflorescence. Just look at those fancy ruffles!

Right in the middle of all the Bletilla action my Papaver orientale ‘Miss Piggy’ just opened its first flower today, but something tells me that this isn’t the real ‘Miss Piggy’…hmm…

‘Miss Piggy’ is supposed to have huge pale pink blooms to about 10″ across,  packed with finely cut, frilly petals – this one definitely doesn’t match that description. Even though it has turned out to be the traditional shape and size, I am not disappointed. I really love that simple elegant poppy shape and salmony pink shade. Mmm, delicious!

It isn't what the tag promised, but it's absolutely lovely!

It isn’t what the tag promised, but it’s absolutely lovely!

Over on the other side of the front garden underneath the Edgeworthia, Calanthe x ‘Kozu Spice’ was in full bloom a few weeks ago.

A small plant over all, but that white lip glowed in the shade of the Hemlock.

A small plant over all, but that white lip glowed in the shade of the Hemlock.

I love the contrast of the earthy, caramel petals against the crisp, white lip.

I love the contrast of the earthy, caramel petals against the crisp, white lip.

Oh remember the Camas? Both Camassia leichtlinii and Camassia quamash have budded, blossomed, and moved on for a few weeks now. The fertilized flowers have turned into swelling seedpods and the entire plant will die back in a few weeks.

Here is Camassia leichtlinii just beginning to bloom.

Here is Camassia leichtlinii just beginning to bloom.

Sometimes Camassia leichtlinii and Camassia quamash can be confused for each other, but when they are grown next to each other it is easy to see that they are distinctive. Overall C. leichtlinii is a much larger plant – 3 feet tall – with light blue starry petals, whereas C. quamash has fuller petals with a richer purple-blue hue and is half the size of its cousin.

The flowers of Camassia leichtlinii are a lighter blue than its cousin Camassia quamash.

The flowers of Camassia leichtlinii are a lighter blue than its cousin Camassia quamash.

Notice how Camassia quamash is darker, richer purple-blue.

In person the hue of Camassia quamash is a darker, richer purple-blue.

During my undergrad I took two propagation classes and one of them I got to try my hand at grafting. Here are the fruits (literally) of my labor! I grafted Ms. Malus ‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ on a M27 rootstock five years ago and now she is bearing young apples! It bloomed for the first time this year and I hope at least one apple ripens before I have to leave in the autumn.

Yay, crosspollination! I hope the young apples continue to swell and grow - no aborting please!

Yay, cross-pollination! I hope the young apples continue to swell and grow – no aborting please!

‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ was bred in the Netherlands in 1949 and it’s supposedly the most intense, complex, and sweet tasting apple you will ever encounter. It’s said that it stores well and the that the aroma and flavor actually changes and mellows as it sits and cures from week to week. Sounds amazing right? Why aren’t they commercially available? It turns out it’s not a “pretty” fruit by supermarket standards and it’s not very disease resistant. I love it either way.

The large white flowers on Malus 'Karmijn de Sonnaville' were quite fragrant and welcomed in our warm spell a few weeks ago.

The large white flowers on Malus ‘Karmijn de Sonnaville’ were quite fragrant and welcomed in our warm spell a few weeks ago.

While we are still in the rose family, my Rosa chinensis ‘Mutabilis’ is in full bloom and Rosa ‘Julia Child’ is not too far behind! I love the fun and wild form of the Mutabilis rose and it’s playful ever changing colors is so uplifting on a dreary, gray day.

The apricot flower in the foreground is on the first day of bloom and the once int he background in on its second-third day of bloom.

The flower in the foreground is on the first day of bloom and the one in the background is on its second day.

What’s not to love about ‘Julia Child’? The old-fashioned, butter yellow flowers are fragrant, the leaves are glossy mid green, and very disease resistant. I just love her! Although her first flower is small, I spied many fat buds swelling and rising up and out of her foliage.

Here is the first little flower of Rosa 'Julia Child'. Her anisey scent is wonderfully delicious!

Here is the first flower of Rosa ‘Julia Child’. Her anisey scent is wonderfully delicious!

Oh and speaking of sweet scents, both Smilacina racemosa and Smilacina stellata have long finished with their blooms, but their clean sweet scent floated through the garden whenever a warm breeze blew by. Plus, come fall their olive mottled berries will turn a smoldering red.

Smilacina racemosa with a beautiful plume of starry white flowers.

Smilacina racemosa with a beautiful plume of starry white flowers.

I love how the cream colored buds open up to white and the stem after blossoming ages to red.

I love how the cream colored buds open up to white and the stem after blossoming ages to red.

Again like the Camas, both Smilacinas are related, but definitely different. S. racemosa is bigger in every sense: taller, wider leaves, more flower, whereas S. stellata is the opposite. S. racemosa is a clumper, while S. stellata is a spreader.

Smilacina stellata is a much more delicate and low compared to its taller cousin.

Smilacina stellata is a much more delicate and low compared to its taller cousin.

Just look at those tiny beautiful stars!

Just look at those tiny beautiful stars!

Oh man, there are so many things blooming I wish I could share them all! Here’s a quick jaunt threw the rest of the garden of things that are blooming I can’t ignore.

Paeonia lutea-hybrid ‘Alice Harding’ is in full bloom and right on time this year. She is the grandmother if all Itoh Peonies (a miraculous cross between tree and herbaceous type peonies) and it is an honor that I have her growing and blooming in my garden beautifully! She is a low and compact peony perfectly suited for smaller gardens and her warm and slightly musky fragrance can waft a ways down the garden path on a warm day. Her flowers are a sweet lemon yellow with a brilliant red blotch at the base of every petal. The only trait that may be seen as a fault is that her flowers are nodding and usually nestled in her foliage. Unless planted higher up, one would have to lay on the ground to look right into the flowers. (I remedy this “problem” by cutting them and bringing them into the house.)

This flower is facing out more than the others, but you can see how the leaves and her nodding habit may be annoying in the garden for some.

This flower is facing out more than the others, but you can see how the leaves and her nodding habit may be annoying in the garden for some.

Here is generous bouquet that will be enjoyed inside and on a desk.

Here is generous bouquet that will be enjoyed inside and on a desk.

And on the other end of the color spectrum Bearded Iris ‘Cloud Ballet’ just popped open its first blossom! I’ve been waiting for two years! Its icy blue color and supple, but soft fragrance is so hard to resist! This was also a reject from work that I am glad I saved. I wish I would just smother myself in those silky dreamy petals.

Just look at those icy billowing petals!

Just look at those icy billowing petals!

Anyway, again I gotta run and it will probably be another week or two before I can write again, but here is a shot of what the Long Plot in the back garden is doing now. I’ll write you soon!

The little pops of color you see are Irises, Astrantias, and Primulas.

The little pops of color you see are Irises, Astrantias, and Primulas.

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